Daily Thoughts, December 23, 2002
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There are some jobs in life – making a phone call to deliver bad news, giving a bad performance review to someone you like, and disciplining kids are good example – that are difficult, even on a good day. As a child I always wondered what the real story was when I innocently got a bad review or was disciplined for something that I had nothing to do with; it muddied the water that was clear during the frequent well deserved sessions related to willful disobedience.

Now that I am presented with the disciplining and review challenge on a regular basis I have nothing but compassion and sympathy for those who had to deal with me in my younger days! How does one convey love and concern in the midst of something that is only negative? Yes, there is a redemptive part to the conversation, or at least there should be, but the listener has often completely shut down by this time. Does the end result alone give one the strength to carry on? Is the role that we find ourselves in reflective of the level of commitment required?

“Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did—they’ll turn out delightful to live with.” (Proverbs 29.17)

I have little to offer except three lessons from my journey.

Always talk in the frame of your motive. If you are doing this for love, keep that thought in the center of your focus as you look on the individual. You will be surprised at how much this influences the words, body language, and tone of what occurs between the two of you.

Love deeply and fully in all things. In addition to your focus, be willing to let the person receiving the difficult conversation stew, muddle, or come to grips with the advice. Love always allows for freedom of acceptance, even if it takes time.

Stay light and nimble. Don’t let yourself get caught in a war of words. Give in love, respond in love, and live in love.

These three reminders will help guide just as we were guided.

December 22, 2002
December 24, 2002